Running. The first thing that goes through my mind is UGH! The thought of running is awful to most, including me. I used to think that the only way I'd ever be caught running was if I were being chased. I despised running in gym class when I was in school. Sweat and an inability to breathe were top of the mind - breathing is a seriously important part of being alive. At the time, I hated sweating and there are only a few reasons I'll tolerate sweating now. So, why am I even talking about any of this?
Fact 1 - I like to eat. Fact 2 - In order for me to keep from being way overweight, I have to exercise. So, when I realized I was the same weight I was when I gave birth to Elizabeth Anne, I started exercising. Besides, as parents, we are role models to our children.
At first, it was just 10 minutes a day, consistently. EVERY DAY. I slowly started seeing results, so I figured I should step up my game and I started walking. That worked for a long time, but I kept reading articles talking about running and how great it was. Everyone who talked about it felt great. I kept thinking, "Only if I'm being chased - breathing is a thing." But I kept thinking about it. (Thinking can be dangerous.)
Another thing that happened along the way is that I learned I have asthma - basically exercise-induced asthma, but yeah - it's also a thing. (Jeffrey Walter can tell you some stories about me wheezing too.) I was in my 40s and have probably had asthma most of my life - maybe that's why I couldn't breathe in gym class. That might also explain the sheer terror at the thought of running when I was in grade school. It still wasn't enough to convince me that running for exercise was worth it, but it still kept coming up in my brain. Besides, you can burn more calories in a shorter period of time by running than you do by walking, meaning I should be able to eat more calories without gaining weight.
A few more years passed, and I was approaching 50. Our youngest daughter (Laura Marie) had discovered running as a way to stay fit and healthy. I had this scary thought, "Well, if Laura Marie can do it, why can't I?" The voice in my head screamed, "You idiot, you're almost 50!"
Well, stubbornness does run in the family - we think it may be genetic.
Anyway, I had been reading about people doing couch to 5k training. I found an app and I started using it (2 days after my 46th birthday - yes, in July). I kept reading and took it very slowly - week 5 took about 6-1/2 weeks of repeats. I trained and trained. I learned that good running shoes aren't cheap but are SO worth it. I thought I was going to die - at least a thousand times - but I survived. The day I ran 20 minutes straight without stopping was HUGE! I couldn't believe it. OK - it was maybe a mile, but I ran a mile without stopping. Go me! That was 2011 and I didn't die!
As the next few years passed, the fits and starts continued. I kept trying to get to the golden 5k milestone, but it just wasn't happening. Apparently, 2014 wasn't a good year for running either, but I did keep walking and/or using indoor equipment like an elliptical. Then it was nearly my 50th birthday and Laura Marie suggested doing a 5k together. She had learned I was back working on the couch to 5k again. Apparently, that was the inspiration I needed, I didn't die, I was able to breathe (mostly), and I even got the t-shirt. Of course, Laura Marie won first place for her age group, but I finished! Whoop whoop!
After that, I kept running. I even ran another 5k that November and I got to where I was running between 6 and 8 miles on my own each weekend. I ran in the heat. I ran in the cold - even when it was below freezing. Frozen sweat is also a thing.
I did that until July of 2017 when I was sidelined by an injury. It took a few months to recover, but I got back into it - just not as committed and not as far. I'd run for a few weeks and stop again. My body felt like it was rebelling. Nothing felt right and the weight started coming back. I kept at it, but just wasn't feeling it. What I was feeling was sheer pain - my knees hurt and getting up from a seated position without help was impossible. Things weren't right. Then COVID happened and exercise was the last thing on my mind. Apparently, that's just what I needed - rest.
Fast forward to 2022. I'm not at my highest weight but I'm not at my best either. I've tried other types of exercise - a treadmill, walking, a stationary bike, free weights, etc. - but nothing keeps my attention. So, I re-started my 5k training. Yes, I repeated week 1 for 4 weeks, but I'm doing it and I'm doing it mostly consistently. It's something and I've managed to fit it into my schedule which is half the battle.
Looking back, I never would have dreamed I'd become a runner, but apparently, I have. I love how it makes me feel when I'm done. Well, mostly - I don't like the aches and pains, but the feeling I get from having done it far outweighs the soreness. This time around, the pain isn't there either - good stretching helps with that. Sure, I get a little sore after the day's training, but I'm not in pain - there is a big difference between pain and soreness. I can even get up from a chair without assistance. No, my knees aren't perfect, and I feel a "yo bitch" from assorted parts of my body periodically, but nothing like 2018 and 2019. I'm working my way through it slowly and when I hit that week where I run for 20 minutes consecutively, I think the world will hear a loud YES! and know I've done it again. Now, back to my training.
What's your favorite form of exercise? Do you enjoy running? Do you have more running shoes than dress shoes?
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